Community Feature

Fierce & Kind: Creating Social Change One Drink at a Time!

By Cesar A Reyes

Fierce & Kind is an employee-and customer-owned spirits and lifestyle company that is equally as invested in crafting quality social beverages as they are in affecting social change. They empower underserved and stigmatized communities by giving investors and consumers new communal ways of participating in funding local initiatives with high impact. 25% of their profits are directed to their foundation to drive social, political, economic, and climate justice work and build generational equity.

Basem Harb:

Basem Harb is the founder of Fierce & Kind, an award-winning, San Diego-based spirits brand committed to funneling real energy, action and capital into building economic opportunities and entrepreneurship in historically disadvantaged communities. Throughout his career, Harb has exercised an innate drive to ideate and nurture businesses from their inception, affording him the opportunity to revolutionize traditional business models and leadership practices with a humanistic approach.   

Prior to launching Fierce & Kind in 2023, Harb spent 36 years as a technology entrepreneur, founding three successful B2B technology companies, CSG, Inc., tapChow and One’Sphere. Harb founded these ventures with the purpose of designing cutting edge technology systems and applications for control and automation systems in military, commercial, and residential sectors.  

Cyndi Smith:

After spending 25 years fostering innovative conversations in education and corporate settings, Cyndi Smith made the courageous move to pursue entrepreneurism. Inspired by the opportunity to create hands-on impact, Smith launched Fierce & Kind in 2023, an award-winning San Diego-based spirits brand with a mission to funnel real energy, action, and capital into combatting social injustices. As co-founder and chief administrative officer, she oversees business administration and marketing initiatives for Fierce & Kind.

As a testament to Harb and Smith’s dedication to supporting underrepresented entrepreneur communities in the San Diego area, the brand donates 25% of its profits to its sister foundation, the Fierce & Kind Equity Foundation and partners with local and regional organizations such as Women’s Empowerment International and the City Heights Community Development Corporation to provide opportunities and education in communities with limited resources.

How did Fierce & Kind come to be?

Fierce & Kind was born out of two passions: whiskey and a commitment to social impact. It’s hard to say which was the biggest driver because the vision for the company always encompassed both. The timing of the launch, however, was sparked by the impact mission. The pandemic reinforced the consequences of economic inequities and the urgency needed to address them. We wanted to invest our work lives and experience into doing something that made a difference.

Today, Fierce & Kind’s award-winning portfolio is distilled from sustainably sourced grains and includes a straight bourbon, a single barrel cask strength bourbon, and an American vodka.

Our American vodka is distilled six times for a distinct purity and comfortable enjoyment with hints of botanicals.  

Our straight bourbon is a very approachable yet sophisticated bourbon with notes of fruit, vanilla, caramel and cream layered until a slight rye spice rises in finish.

The latest addition to our product lineup is our Single Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon is aged for two years, nine months in charred and toasted New American Oak barrels, resulting in a 110-proof bourbon. This high-proof spirit offers a notable deep and complex flavor profile with layers of stone fruit, vanilla, and caramel flavors and a balanced heat.  The smooth drinking experience belies its cask strength, 110 proof signature.

What is your mission?

Fierce & Kind’s mission extends beyond crafting award-winning spirits; the brand was founded with the intention to support underrepresented communities in building access to fair housing, food security and educational opportunities to ultimately provide economic equity and combat social injustice in these communities. 

Fierce & Kind donates 25% of its profits to The Fierce & Kind Equity Foundation, which aims to create economic opportunities for historically underserved communities, including women and BIPOC entrepreneurs and business owners. ​ 

Tell us about the Pride Collection and how the idea came about? 

In honor of the LGBTQ+ community, we recently launched a limited-edition Pride Collection which includes our straight bourbon (which has fittingly been renamed gay bourbon), Single Barrel Cask Strength bourbon and award-winning American vodka. 

25% of the proceeds from these special bottles will benefit our partner, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, which supports the health, wellbeing, and human rights of the full diversity of San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community through targeted programs and services. Through its work for the betterment of the full San Diego region, the organization annually provides more than 80,000 direct service visits to San Diego community members through its events, activities, and advocacy.

What does it mean to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community? 

We believe that strong, vibrant communities empower individuals to chase their dreams, whether through entrepreneurship or other endeavors. With this launch, we aim to showcase the importance of uplifting one another and playing a part in making the whiskey and broader spirits community a more inclusive space.  We also firmly believe that none of us are free until all of us are free.

How can folks follow and be a part of the Fierce & Kind experience? 

At our core we believe that a rising tide lifts all boats. The first and most important way to be part of the Fierce & Kind experience is to purchase and gift Pride bottles because that choice directly impacts the LGBTQ+ community while also building Fierce & Kind as a progressive social enterprise that can continue to work to uplift communities. It’s also important to always ask for Fierce & Kind at your favorite bars, restaurants, and bottle shops because that further entrenches social-impact ventures in our business community. Finally, to learn more about Fierce & Kind and stay up to date on our coming product launches, events (including our Bourbon and Blues Sessions music series), and social impact reports, visit our website at and follow and engage with us on Instagram @fierce.kind.